The Humble Beet’s Guide to Summer Knitting

Knitting

banner

I am here to abolish the false and misguided notion that knitting is exclusively a wintertime activity. This is a horribly erroneous belief that has been propagated through the ages, and likely stems from the idea that knitwear can’t be worn in the summer. This could not be more untrue! Summertime is excellent for knitted lace and sleeveless tops, and there are tons of lightweight fibre options that are amazingly breathable. Plant fibres like cotton, flax, bamboo, and hemp are ideal for summer knits, and nothing beats a nice linen blend on a sweltry summer’s day (take that, Old Testament!)

Here’s my guide to summer knitting so you can happily knit and purl your way through the solstice.

Tulip Tank Top

greytopfront

Pattern: Tulip Tank Top from Purl SoHo

Yarn: Cotton/linen fingering

I knew I had to make this tank as soon as I saw it. Look how weird it is! The way it’s constructed is even weirder. Check out the back:

greytopback

The whole thing is knitted in one piece using short rows (the cast-on row follows bottom edge of the garment from shoulder to shoulder). The cotton/linen yarn I used is super light and breezy and has awesome drape. I do recommend going up a size, though, and using a stretchy cast-off, which I did not do.

Cap Sleeve Lattice Top

Pattern: Cap Sleeve Lattice Top from Purl SoHo

Yarn: Galileo yarn from Knit Picks in lunar and white

lattice

Another favourite from Purl SoHo. This top is made from a merino/bamboo blend and has a three-stitch-repeat lattice pattern on the yolk that offers significant ventilation. I made this a little different than the pattern suggests: I knit it in the round instead of making separate front and back sections and seaming them up the sides, which was a way easier approach. Who wants to knit/purl when you can just knit? Who? (A particularly purl-heavy project gave me tendonitis around Christmas 2013 and I’ve been slightly purl-adverse ever since).

lattice2

Pretty!

Amithiste Shawl

hsawl

Pattern: Amethiste pattern

Yarn: Lindy Chain yarn from Knit Picks in harbor

My Amethiste shawl! I made one of these for my mother last Christmas in merino wool, but I like this cotton/linen version so much more (sorry momma). My favourite part is its scalloped edge, which is super hard to achieve with silky yarns, even with rigorous blocking. Cotton and linen are more drapey and less stiff and take to blocking extremely well.

IMG_3096

Much like knitting, scarves and scarf-like apparel are totally ideal year-round. Summer nights be chilly!

Knitted Sleepwear

shorts

Pattern: Bra Top; Shorts

Yarn: Cascade 220

Knitted booty shorts, people! I spied these in More Modern Top-Down Knitting by Kristina McGowan, which my library conveniently has a copy of. I hadn’t even considered making below-the-belt knitwear until I met this book, and now my wardrobe includes both these booty shorts and a knitted pencil skirt. Heck yeah.

I hope these projects have inspired you to knit your way though the summer heat!

The Humble Beet’s Guide to Identifying a Fake Spinning Wheel

Knitting

spinning wheelImage source.

Over the winter I learned how to spin fibre into yarn using a drop spindle. Spinning is one of those gloriously tedious activities you can zone out to for hours on end while you unknowingly bust through Netflix’s entire inventory and/or develop chronic, debilitating tendonitis, or at least some pretty calloused fingertips. It’s seriously awesome.

Almost immediately I decided to take my spinning to the next level and buy a wheel. I knew this was the right move for me. I knew it! Knitting runs through my veins! I bleed alpaca fleece and dream about goat-filled meadows at night! Making yarn was about to become a central component of my identity. Barbara: sewer; knitter; spinner; semicolon enthusiast.

A new spinning wheel can cost anywhere from $400 – $1000. Most of them sit around the $800 mark. Pricey, right? Naturally turned to Kijiji, the buy-and-sell underbelly of modern consumerism. I found a seller, arranged a meetup time, and a week later I was on my way to meet a guy named Leon in a racquet club parking garage.

Leon hauled the wheel out of his van and set it on the concrete to give me a quick demo. Push the pedal down like this and the wheel spins like this. No problem! The wheel was missing its drive band, so Leon knocked $20 off the price, loaded it into my car, and my new wheel and I drove off into the sunset.

Another week later I received a drive band in the mail from the fine people at The Fibre Garden and the three pounds of merino and bamboo fibre I ordered from KnitPicks had arrived, so I sourced an instructional video for first time spinners and sat down at my wheel, very eager to get my spin on.

This is roughly the point where my entire world came crashing down on me. As it turned out, what I had was not a spinning wheel, but a spinning wheel-shaped decorative object. These things were apparently popular in the 50s and 60s but have no functionality.

The spinning gods giveth and the spinning gods taketh away, people.

I spent the rest of that afternoon reading about these beguiling pseudo-spinning wheel monstrosities (which will henceforth be referred to as BPSWMs), and learned that they’re actually very common. Like really common. Way, way too common.

So, instead of writing a post about my rousing new life as a spinner, I am writing a helpful little guide so my precious readers can spot BPSWMs in the wild and avoid making my same mistake.

“Made in Canada”

If you are wondering if that super-rustic looking wheel at your local antique shop is the real deal or a BPSWM, take a look at the underside of the bench for a “Made in Canada” stamp. Spinning wheels made in Canada aren’t necessarily BPSWMs, but many BPSWMs that you’ll find in antique shops and on Kijiji/Craigslist were manufactured in this fine land, so keep your eye out for other signs of BPSWMness if you do spot this inscription.

No Orifice

Apparently some wheels are made sans orifice and instead have a hook at the front of the flyer that serves the same purpose as an orifice, but as a general rule, spinning wheels have an orifice. Mine did not. No orifice to feed the fibre through = no yarn for you.

orificeImage source.

No tension adjustment

No tension adjustment means no drive band tension knob on the top of the wheel, or a tension knob that doesn’t raise/lower the mother-of-all. In the case of my particular BPSWM, the tension knob was a loosely attached component that did nothing when adjusted. Nothing at all.

tension adjustmentImage source.

All-in-one flyer and bobbin

The flyer and the bobbin are two pieces that fit together but can be easily separated when you remove them from the wheel. Unless you have a BPSWM on your hands, in which case the flyer and bobbin are likely an all-in-one component that does not separate.
SlidingHookFlyerImage source.

Too few hooks

My BPSWM had a full row of hooks on its flyer, but my research indicates that a distinct lack of hooks or hooks made of wire is another hallmark of a BPSWM.

hooksImage source.

I re-listed the BPSWM on Kijiji and Craiglist, but the only replies I got were from spinners looking for an actual, functioning wheel, not a decorative semblance of a one. Shocking, right? So I was pretty much stuck with a big, awkwardly-shaped imposter that took up way too much space in apartment and mocked me with its cruel, soul-crushing fraudulence every time I walked by it. There was only one thing that could be done.

I had to burn that mother down.

wheelablaze

(I am SOOO sorry about the image quality.)

I won’t lie and say setting a spinning wheel on fire in an ally wasn’t totally worth the $100 I spent on this BPSWM purchase. I’m still a little heartbroken that I’m not the fleece-spinning wheel wizard I hoped I’d be, but I’m planning to buy one of these super cute Ashford Kiwis, so hope is not lost. And hopefully my misfortune will save someone else from the dangers and perils of second-hand spinning wheel ownership.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Food

otherscone

Hello, poppets. I bring you scones! Scones that appear to share the same unfortunate hue as my kitchen floor. It might be time I up my photography game, maybe invest in one of those umbrella lights or a tasteful backdrop.

Laser Scone

So much better. I can already tell I’ve amplified my photographic professionalism by a such degree I’m going to go ahead and cancel that umbrella light.

Hey, want to hear a secret about scones? I’ve experimented with at least a dozen scone recipes, each time adjusting the levels of flour, butter, and leveraging agents, and have reached a very staggering conclusion: scones are bloody delicious. All of them. Sweet scones, cheesy scones, oatmeal scones, flour scones, scones made with all different varieties of animal lard, they’re all just so delicious. I have truly never met a scone I didn’t like.

I will make one tiny recommendation that guarantee your success in this cutthroat world of scone baking: use real butter! Or shortening, if that’s your jam. Margarine is alright and all, but scones don’t really lend themselves to healthy substitutions. Besides, is margarine really that healthy a substitution? We’re basically talking about single-serving cakes here. If caloric restriction is the name of your game I’m not even sure what you’re doing on this page.

Also, somewhat contrary to what I just said, scones don’t need a whole lot of sugar to obtain optimal deliciousness. You know those mini vanilla scones from Starbucks with the thick layer of icing on top? SO GOOD. I love those things. But if we are being honest with our biscuit-consuming selves, those are scone-shaped sugar cookies. Scones are meant to be just a little sweet, and I think the 1/4 cup of sugar in this recipe is just the right amount. Plus, last I checked flour and butter are a pretty delectable combination on their own.

This is a very basic scone recipe that you can use as is or swap tasty things in and out of. I’ve used oranges and cranberries in this particular version, but you could use lemons, dried cherries, nuts, raisins, or whatever satisfies your culinary inclinations. Just look at all those tasty scones!

Scones

Recipe time.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 medium orange (zested and squeezed)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut chilled butter into flour mixture until the enite mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.
  4. In a small bowl, combine orange zest, juice from orange, and dried cranberries. Add to flour and butter mixture and stir to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat yogurt and eggs until fluffy (3-5 minutes).
  6. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is well formed (about 1 minute).
  7. Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion into two 6-inch circles about 3/4-inch in thickness. Cut each circle into 6 equal wedges and place on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
  9. Combine confectioner’s sugar and milk and drizzle over scones (optional).

Kaleidoscope Pillow

Sewing

Kaleidoscope Pillow

I have a new love. It is a blazing, impassioned, delirious sort of love, one that swallows me whole and leaves me asthmatic with creative fulfillment. My new love is quilting, and I can’t for the life of me believe I’ve waited so long to add this undertaking to my roster of obsessions.

Quilting encompasses everything that is awesome about sewing (i.e., seaming pretty fabrics together and making neat designs) and none of the aggravation (i.e., darts, pleats, hems, zippers, and making things actually fit).

It’s sewing for people who don’t like sewing. Or if you do happen to like sewing, it’s sewing on steroids. Quilting is an incredibly satisfying and even tranquilizing activity that lets you experiment with textiles and use up scraps from projects past. I knew I had been collecting leftover fabric scraps all these years for a reason!

My lovely friend Christina (hi Christina!) invited me to take this Sampler Quilt class with her at the Workroom, a quaint little sewing studio in the west end. The class, of course, was the most fun ever, and has totally sent me on a trajectory of lifelong quilting.

I’m a little ashamed to admit I haven’t yet completed my sampler quilt despite the class having ended several weeks ago… but it’s totally going to happen. I have my quilt slated as a Christmas present, so it will (hopefully) be sewn to completion very soon.

So, you know how I just praised the demigods of quilting and convinced you that there is no finer avocation on this green earth? I totally lied. Quilting is bloody awesome, but there is one thing out there that’s even better: English paper piecing.

English paper piecing is a quilting method that uses paper templates and fabric scraps to create perfectly crisp seams and precise blocking. It’s a completely different approach to quilting, but yields mostly the same results. I learned how to English paper piece via YouTube and was immediately hooked. The method requires no measuring or pre-cut strips fabric, no rotary cutters or cutting mats. Just a paper template and some fabric scraps.

So, with my newly acquired quilting and English paper piecing acumen, I ventured upon this kaleidoscope pillow project pictured above, which will serve a Christmas present for my darling little sister. (I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog or any form of written memorandum for that matter, so I don’t think I’m ruining any surprises by posting this.)

This project was seriously fun to make. It uses a 16″ x 16″ pillow form, and you can incorporate as many or as few fabrics as you like. I used five patterned fabrics and one solid, and I think the results are very handsome.

English paper piecing is necessary for this project because the pieces are joined in a way that forms a spiral-like point at the centre of each piece – maybe this can be accomplished with regular quilting, but I can’t wrap my brain around how this would happen. Plus that would involve an insane amount of measuring and cutting accuracy.

There are many kaleidoscope pillow tutorials in the vast and endless interweb, but the one I used and recommend is here. (Look at all those super helpful instructional photos!)

To conclude, I am hopelessly and incurably enamoured by the art of quilting, and even more so by its simpler and more forgiving little sister, English paper piecing. Be mine forever, glorious textile crafts❤.

“Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions” by Edwin A. Abbott

Books

Flatland

And what a romance! A geometric, algorithmic, multi-spacial romance. In fact, I was so moonstruck by this novella’s trigonometric charms that I read it a second and a third time, repeatedly entranced by its cacophonous journeys through terrains of dimensional discord.

Flatland is a two-dimensional world inhabited by a legion of polygonal shapes (except for the women, who are straight lines), whose angles and proportionality determine their position within the social echelon. Isosceles triangles make up the microcosm’s soldiers and workmen, circles comprise the priestly cast, and squares and pentagons, including the story’s narrator, A. Square, are the “gentlemen” class, and hold professions such as doctor and lawyer.

Socially, Flatland is a very rigid and uncompromising place, with countless customs and affectations that result from its dimensional limitations, such as “The Art of Feeling”, which is used to identify other forms.

In the 2D world of Flatland, shapes appear as straight lines, the same as a coin appears as a straight line when viewed from its side in the three dimensional sphere where you and I live.

Flatland_(first_edition)_page_23b

Flatland is replete with hand-drawn diagrams that illustrate the perspective of its inhabitants, like the ones above which show how polygonal forms appear as only sides and angles, depending on their relative position.

Women, being mere line segments, have the unique ability to appear as near-invisible points depending on their approach, the same as a sewing needle appears as a single point when viewed head-on in our comely, three-dimensional sphere. Women are portrayed as dangerous, irrational beings, prone to manic fits and limited intelligence, a misogynistic and hilarious nod to the Victorian-era civilization the novel parodies.

Flatland places a great deal of emphasis on the mathematical tangibility of its settings, with countless diagrams, equations, and blueprints punctuating its pages.

But this is not a story about shapes or geometry or arithmetical beings. Flatland is a story about dissonance, perception, and existential discovery, particularly that of the novel’s protagonist, A. Square.

One night, A. Square has a dream in which he visits the one-dimensional world of Lineland where his failed attempt to describe the realities of the second dimension to the region’s monarch proves infuriating and ultimately futile.

A. Square is then visited by a sphere from Spaceland, who experiences similar obstacles when explaining the spatial realities of his three dimensional home. A. Square cannot conceptualize the multidimensional world of Spaceland until seeing it with his own eye, which then forces him to reconcile the veracity of the third dimension with his own narrow, self-contained cosmology.

A. Square is transformed, his mind awakened to third dimension, now prepossessed by the theoretical possibility of a fourth, fifth, or sixth dimension.

Flatland‘s protagonist experiences what is colloquially known as having one’s mind blown. It reminded me of when I switched from streaming to Netflix or tasted real maple syrup for the first time: I was reborn, a transposed version of my former self, confounded by the heedless ignorance of my entire life up until that point.

The same is true for A. Square, a formerly content and self-assured being, who is quickly romanced by his newly acquired spatial realism. This forces at least a little angst on the reader, who must examine the dimensional limitations of her own world. Fun!

Flatland is a strange but charming little novel that spans a variety of genres including science fiction, non-fiction, and social satire, and can be read here in its entirety.

I really, really liked Flatland. It is a fun, amorous tale of contention and perception, and does a remarkably good job at explaining different dimensions while also functioning as a satire of Victorian society.

Flatland is a perplexing, bizarre, mathematical tale, and one that I was truly enamoured by. I can’t wait to read this romance-filled badboy yet again.

Apple Custard Pie

Food

This past weekend I both baked and consumed an entire pie. I’m really starting to think I have some impulse control-related kinks to work out.

Shelly has been hounding me to bake her a pie for weeks, possibly even months. Actually, it has definitely been months. Months and months of incessant pie badgering. I was bound to cave eventually, right?

I’m mostly glad I did, save for all the butter and flour still fighting its way through my digestive tract. This pie is a little different from my pies of yore, which are fairly standard, double-crusted confections. What makes this pie special, you ask? Custard. Delicious, creamy, gelatinous custard.

Actually, I don’t think this qualifies as a proper custard due to its conspicuous lack of egg yolk, but I don’t care even a little. IT’S JUST SO DARN TASTY.

sliceedit

The recipe for this pie belongs to my momma. I visited my parental domicile over Thanksgiving, and mentioned that I had been apple picking recently and had an extreme abundance of apples in my possession. This prompted my mother to extract this pie recipe from her archives, and I immediately remembered her making it when I was a kid.

I figured it was time to appease Shelly, use up my freshly-picked apples, and relive some delicious pie nostalgia. The results couldn’t have been tastier.

I’m not sure what exactly went right when I made the crust, but for some reason it turned out much lighter and flakier than usual. It felt like like I was eating a pie ensconced in Toaster’s Strudel. Plus there was all that aforementioned custard… There was no way this pie was going to live to see Monday.

Here’s my momma’s delicious apple custard pie recipe! Hopefully you will be able to exercise the modicum of self-restraint that I was not.

Ingredients
Pastry shell:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Filling:

  • 6-8 apples, pared, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • Ground cinnamon

Method
Pastry shell:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Stir in water one tablespoon at a time until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Arrange apples in a 9-inch unbaked pastry shell.
  3. Combine sugar, flour, salt, and cream. Pour mixture over apples.
  4. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
  5. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Burda Strapless Corset Dress (03/2010 #107)

Sewing

dress1edit

Pattern Description: Women’s strapless dress. Fully lined and with structured boning.

Pattern Sizing: I’m pretty sure I cut a 10. But many modifications were made.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Not especially, but instructions for Burda print-at-home patterns tend to be minimal.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked that this pattern was kind of hard. It was a pain to make, but I learned how to do cool things like sew boning casing into lining seams and make a fitted corset.

Fabric Used: Woven cotton and Bemberg lining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I only used the pattern for the bodice design and I drafted the skirt myself. I didn’t make many alterations to the bodice other than I sewed an extra seam up the piece below the bust to make it fit better, and I added a bit more boning than what was called for.

Would you sew it again? Definitely. I loved the way the bodice turned out, and I’d like to make it again but with a narrow pencil skirt instead of a flared skirt.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but only to experienced sewers. If I had attempted this during my more amateur days I probably would have scratched my eyes out in frustration.

Last June I had the extreme pleasure of attending Sewing Garments Camp at The Make Den sewing studio. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the most magical, recuperative week of my entire summer, if not my entire existence.

I chose this particular dress for sewing camp because it looked like a huge pain in the ass to make; it did not disappoint. The bodice in this pattern is structured and fully lined, and I got to play with boning for the first time.

Boning is somewhat laborious to insert, especially the steel coil variety, but once it’s in something magical happens: the garment becomes structured enough to hoist up your fleshy segments all by itself, thus eliminating the need to wear a bra. SERIOUSLY. I’m going to sew boning into absolutely everything I own.

I made this dress to wear at a friend’s wedding, and here’s a photo to prove that I did indeed wear it:

dress3edit

The pattern for this dress (the bodice, at least) can be found here. This is a downloadable pattern, which means you get to spend an evening printing a gigantic PDF file, scaling the pages, cutting everything out, taping the pieces together, tracing them into pattern paper, adding seam allowances, and cutting the pieces out again, which is an oddly satisfying process.

My enchantingly stunning friend Sora was kind enough to model my sewing camp dress for me, and doesn’t she look lovely? Just the loveliest.

Here’s one more shot of fair Sora, who wears this dress far better than I do:

dress2edit

I realized mid-construction that this dress looks just a little Snow White. A lot Snow White, actually. My dark hair and pigment-devoid skin only exasperate this issue. I may have selected something other than yellow for the skirt if I had realized this earlier, but instead I’m going to pretend this is exactly what I was going for.

White Bean Chicken Chili

Food

chiliedit

I think summer might actually be over. My skin is moisture-deprived and flaky, the warmth of my combat boots looks way more appealing than that of my flats, and I’m pretty sure my coral lipstick just became seasonably inappropriate.

Now is around the time when I usually go into deep hibernation, ensconced under a toasty assemblage of comforters, emerging only for knitting supplies and occasionally to go to work.

While I am not such a fan of winter and all its glacial horrors, I am very much a fan of winter comfort foods, chili being the newest addition to my mental stockpile of favoured winter fare.

Up until very recently I was under the impression that chili was a requisite source of nasty tomatoes and indiscernible ground meat. (More information about my tomato revulsion can be found here!) But did you know that chili can also be delicious? And completely tomato-free?

This white bean chicken chili is incredibly tasty, which may have something to do with the fact that I replaced all the tomatoes in the recipe with booze. Good old booze. Always there when you need it.

It also boasts nice big chunks of chicken breast, white kidney beans, and a leafy combo of Swiss chard and kale, ’cause there’s room for greens in everything.

I know I’ve already completely sold you on my delicious chili, but I’m gonna keep going.

This recipe can be made both on the stove top or in a slow cooker, though I highly recommend the slow cooker version because it’s so much less effort, and you can stay nestled under your thermal acropolis for eight whole hours while it cooks. Plus cooking things at low temperatures for long periods of times just makes things taste extra good.

Here are both versions of the recipe, in case you have not yet joined the slow cooking movement (which you totally should because slow cooked food makes winter just a pinch less painful).

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 (15-oz) cans white kidney beans
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard or kale
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white whine
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh ground pepper for seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese (garnish)

Method (slow cooker)

  1. Combine all ingredients except Parmesan and Swiss chard/kale in a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
  3. Stir in Swiss chard/kale and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve with Parmesan.
  5. Method (stove top)

    1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
    3. Add the uncooked chicken, salt, cumin, fennel seeds, and chili powder.
    4. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
    5. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, chicken stock, and white wine.
    6. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and continue simmering for 50-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened.
    7. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes.
    8. Season with salt and pepper.
    9. Ladle into bowls and serve with Parmesan.

Wave Blanket (pattern included)

Knitting

blanketedit

It’s September now. The deal I made with the underworld gods for everlasting summer in exchange for a tiny slice of my soul apparently did not pan out. It’s gonna take me awhile to get over this one.

September brings Labour Day weekend, however, which for me meant heading to London, Ontario, my birthland and home to my beloved procreators (hi ma and pa!). You know what can be found in extreme abundance in their parental dwelling? Crap I’ve made. Including this lovely wave blanket!

Is this really a blanket, though? It’s pretty small. Not quite large enough to actually blanket something… Maybe it’s an afghan? Is that word even used in the context of warm, comfy coverings anymore? Perhaps it is a throw. What in the hell is a throw, though? An extremely unreliable internet source (you know the one) says a throw is intended to cover an individual during periods of rest, and I think that’s what my mother uses it for, so I’m going with that. Check out the sweet, wavy throw I made!

This project was alarmingly easy to make. I’ve always thought of knitted blankets as extremely daunting, life-consuming projects, but this one knitted up super fast and was really fun to make. The most fun part, of course, was picking the colours. Extreme closeup!:

closeupedit

Just look how wavy it is! The pattern can be found here. This project would be excellent for beginner knitters looking to learn some easy new techniques like yarn overs and k2togs.

On a mostly unrelated note, if any of you glorious readers live in, near, around, or adjacent to Toronto, you should stop by 329 Shaw St this Saturday where some cat-loving companions and myself will be selling clothes, jewellery, cat bowties (!!!), and baked goods to raise money for the Toronto Cat Rescue. This is going to be the event of the decade. Please come visit! Also, here’s a map so you have no excuse for not coming:

Cat bowties, people. You know you want in on this.

Simplicity 1610

Sewing

Simplicity 1610

Pattern Description: Misses’ dress in knee or maxi length with fitted bodice and pleated skirt with pockets.

Pattern Sizing: I can’t really remember, but I think I cut a size 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that this is a Project Runway pattern because I am madly in love with Tim Gunn and secretly want him to adopt me, I like that the dress was easy to fit, I like how the pockets are hidden in the front pleats, and I love the V shape in the back. Love love love. I’m not such a fan of sewing princess seams, but they are what the pattern called for so I went with it.

Fabric Used: Woven cotton.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None that I can remember. I pretty much just stuck to the pattern design.

Would you sew it again? Yes, I want to make the maxi halter version! I have finally come around to maxi dresses and need to attempt making one. I haven’t yet come around to halter tops, however… so maybe I’ll leave this project to next summer.

Would you recommend it to others? Totally.

sidebyside

Doesn’t this dress just scream FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TAKE ME TO A SUMMER GARDEN PARTY? That’s totally the emotion I was trying to channel into this dress when I made it. Complete success, right?

Where the summer garden parties at, anyway? I don’t believe I’ve attended a single garden party all season. There have been patio luncheons, beach affairs, and picnic festivities, but not a single garden party.

This may have something to do with the fact that everyone I know lives in a high-rise, so I have decided to open my social circle to any suitable aspirants who both a) have a garden, and b) like to get their garden party on.

In the meantime, I plan on wearing this dress on every remaining sunny day because it’s just too pretty not to. I’m really happy with the way it turned out and the fit is excellent, but it is just a pinch Bo Peep. Maybe I’m just not used to flared skirts.

Regardless, this is a great basic pattern, and one that would be super easy to modify and make other garments out of. Although I’m perfectly content to keep making this same dress over and over because I like it so very much.